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Tasktop Sync 2.0 Supports ALM Repository Introspection and REST Based Artifact Management

by Srini Penchikala on Dec 25, 2011 |

The latest version of application lifecycle unification framework Tasktop Sync supports ALM repository introspection and REST based application lifecycle artifact management. Tasktop team released last month version 2.0 of the tool. InfoQ spoke with Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop, about the new features in the latest release.

He said that the Tasktop Sync 1.0 release created a real-time connection between developers and QA team without requiring either to switch away from their tool of choice or to bridge the gap between dev teams using different ALM tools. While version 1.0 made it possible to write this mapping as XML, they wanted to help development managers discover and capture the ALM architecture in their organizations within the Sync tool.

The new release also includes an OSLC-based task linking feature that provides an OSLC linking service to repositories like HP Quality Center, Bugzilla, Jira, and Team Foundation Server. The OSLC service can be consumed by OSLC clients like IBM Rational Team Concert to allow the clients to preview tasks in the supported remote repositories.

Mik talked about the new features in Tasktop Sync 2.0 release.

InfoQ: How does the new OSLC-based application lifecycle artifacts linking works?

Mik: For Sync to work, ALM artifacts such as tasks and defects need to be linked across repositories via URLs.  We have long had the feature of cross-repository linking within Tasktop Dev, with the ability to view the linked item without logging into another server.  What OSLC does is provide this kind of on-demand preview of linked ALM artifacts within the browser UI, and is very nicely supported by IBM’s Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) tools.  To support this, Tasktop Sync provides an OSLC adapter for each of the dozens of ALM tools that we support via the Eclipse Mylyn common data model for ALM.  While linking is only focused on a subset of the use cases supported by Sync, and is not intended to create a real-time and full-fidelity connection between stakeholders such as dev and QA, it provides a convenient way to create on-demand rich linking between ALM artifacts such as requirements and tests that reside in different tools.

InfoQ: The application lifecycle artifacts link feature has a REST interface. Can you tell us more about the architecture behind this feature?

Mik: Tasktop Sync uses the Mylyn data model for all of its integrations, and has a set of APIs accessing for accessing that.  To support OSLC, we simply bridge between those APIs and a set of OSLC-CM compliant REST APIs.  In other words, we expose a portion of the Mylyn data model over REST via OSLC.  It’s only a small portion at this stage as OSLC-CM has much more targeted use cases than the generic Mylyn model, but this portion is all that’s needed to support rich linking.  We then use the web UI extensibility provided by OSLC and the IBM CLM implementation of it to bring data that’s beyond the OSLC standard into the CLM tools’ UI, such as listing all attributes by rendering parts of the data model as HTML and JavaScript that tools like IBM RTC are able to inline into their UI.

Mik also discussed another new feature that can be used for ALM repository introspection. Sync connects to each supported ALM tool, retrieves its schema, displays it, and updates it as it changes.  Prior to Sync 2.0, this had to be done by having an administrator log into each ALM tool, retrieving the repository schema, document it, then trying to figure out a mapping to the other ALM tools in the stack. Tasktop Sync 2.0 provides a console and authoring too for both introspecting and authoring each organization's ALM architecture.  The goal is that each stakeholder in software delivery is able to use his or her tool of choice.
 

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